by Joel Comiskey, 2016
Jesus needed to spend time alone with His Father. How much more, then, do we? After all, He is our example. Luke 5:16 says, “… Jesus often withdrew to lonely places and prayed.” Luke 5:15 explains that Christ’s fame was spreading, and the success of his ministry compelled Him to spend more time with God. In the midst of an increasingly busy ministry, He separated from the multitude for quiet time. Mark 1:35 says, “Very early in the morning, while it was still dark, Jesus got up, left the house and went off to a solitary place, where he prayed.” Before the busyness of His day began, Jesus spent time with the Father.
Daily devotional time is the single most important discipline in the Christian life. During that daily time, Jesus transforms us, feeds us, and gives us new revelation. On the other hand, not spending sufficient time with God can bring the agony of defeat. How often have we raced out of the house, hoping to accomplish a little bit more, only to return bruised, depressed, and hurt? When we start the day without time with our Lord, we lack power and joy to face the demands of life.
In my research project of 700 cell leaders in eight countries, the cell leader’s devotional life consistently appeared among the top three most important variables. In other words, those cell leaders who spent more time in their daily devotional time were more likely to effectively lead their cell group to multiplication than those who did not. During quiet times alone with the living God, the cell leader hears God’s voice and receives His guidance. In those still moments, the leader understands how to deal with the constant talker, how to wait for a reply to a question, or how to minister to a hurting member of the group. Cell leaders moving under God’s guidance have an untouchable sense of direction and leadership. Group members respond to a leader who hears from God and knows the way. God brings success.
Some Christians resist the notion of setting apart daily time to seek God. Some even say, “I pray all the time.” Yes, the Bible tells us to pray without ceasing (1 Thessalonians 5:16), and Paul implores us to “… pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests” (Ephesians 6:18). But Jesus gives us the other side of the coin. Jesus says in Matthew 6:5-6, “And when you pray, do not be like the hypocrites, for they love to pray standing in the synagogues and on the street corners to be seen by men. I tell you the truth, they have received their reward in full. but when you pray, go into your room, close the door and pray to your Father, who is unseen.” These verses map out a specific time set apart to seek the Father—a time to meditate on His Word, listen to the Spirit’s voice, worship Him, and intercede for others.